by Sara Wheeler
(Sara is a good friend who is running her first marathon on her 40th birthday: Sunday, October 6th. We went on a training run together last week, and she is ready! Sara is also a lunatic who sent an email out to her friends and family last Sunday night, and I cried when I read it; I’ve been crying a lot these days. She titled the email “So I Keep Running.” Her email is what encourages me most about this whole, crazy project: she’s imagining what she can do for women who are in slavery, and she’s inspiring others to imagine what they can do. She graciously agreed to let me share it here. Enjoy!)
It’s Sunday night, and it’s a typical evening for me to be thinking, what route am I gonna take tomorrow?
In a few short weeks, I will be running my first marathon, the Twin Cities Marathon, and I am getting pretty pumped. Running is in the air. I can almost smell it.
Part of what makes it exciting is that I am not running alone. Well, OK, so I have been running alone, pretty much for over two years straight. And I will be running the marathon alone. BUT on September 15th, on the very weekend that I am running my longest training run before my race, my friend Steve will be running the Grand Canyon. And when I say Grand Canyon, I mean he is running from one rim to the other. He is descending down into the canyon, through it, and up the other side. You can read about his ALL DAY adventure by clicking here.
I am pretty lucky because for me, knowing about Steve’s crazy idea has inspired me to keep training. He is running the “rim to rim” because let’s just be honest, he is an elite athlete (editor’s note: settle down, Sara). And let’s just say, Steve likes to challenge himself. And Steve likes to try new things. BUT, if you read the attached link, those things are not quite as important as the 50 women in Ethiopia that Steve is trying to help. He is running the Grand Canyon to help 50 women who have been forced into prostitution. Take a minute to take that in. Steve is hoping that the awareness he is raising will help 50 women “receive intensive counseling, unconditional love, accredited education, future job training, and a safe environment to heal.” This is all through an amazing program called the Keziah Project, and many women have already been freed because of it!
After you and I read the blog, we do feel like this is unreasonable. These folks are across an ocean, the conditions are horrible and a place like this just can’t change. Anyone up for unreasonable?
Last week, I was up at 4:45am and running an 18 miler as part of my training program. It was hot, humid and I had spent a couple days thinking about water stops, what best to replenish with during the run and how on earth I was gonna make it during a heat advisory. At mile 6, I hopped onto a trailhead at Elm Creek Park Reserve. I got into a rhythm and for the next hour felt like there was no other place on the earth I’d rather be. I saw an amazing sunrise, along with some pretty friendly wildlife, and felt like I could run forever. How lucky am I? It was absolutely beautiful. All of a sudden, I thought about those women in Ethiopia, sex-trafficking, unloved, with no hope. They weren’t on a wildlife trail. They had no freedom. Then I thought about my 3 girls.
Well, I don’t pretend to assume that I can change the world, but when I am running 26.2 on October 6th this year, I will be thinking about and running for the 50 girls in Ethiopia, and the many girls in my own life, grown and small, who are contributing to our world in a way that makes all of us better people. I am crazy about all of you. You make me better. We are one. Lucky. Bunch.
In It Together
Steve’s note: Isn’t Sara the bomb? Lunatics, as of Wednesday, September 4th, we have raised $38,565. That is unbelievable! Can you help us make the final push? Just a little under $12,000 and we’ll reach our goal of $50,000. Click here to donate!
And have you heard about my lunatic friend Cheri, who talked the owners of Mainstream Boutique in Maple Grove to donate 20% of all proceeds during the hours of 7pm – 9pm this Friday night, September 6th? Ladies, get your shop on this Friday night and join the craziness. You can view all the details here.
And lastly – my friend Drew is running 50 miles on September 15th, during the ten hours that I’ll be running the Grand Canyon. Complete lunacy. He’s inviting family and friends out to Elm Creek that day to play, run, and cheer him on, pray for our Ethiopian friends, and for me. Read about it here.